ITHACA, NY – City staffers put a proposal to consider reducing the no-go zone for food trucks around brick and mortar restaurants from 200 to 50 feet on the Monday, Nov. 9 Board of Public Works agenda.
Gregor Brous, owner of Collegetown Bagels and Ithaca Bakery, gave the board’s commissioners his opinion on the proposal in no uncertain terms. He’s not for more food trucks, in short.
“I think I pay the highest rent per square foot and probably in dollars, and I’m happy to discuss it with anyone who wants to compare,” Brous said about the Collegetown CTB location. “My business is off dramatically, because of decisions made in Collegetown and a lack of business on the street.”
Brous asked the board what kind of controls were in place to ensure food trucks pay all their taxes; he asked whether their propane tanks were inspected; and he raised the concern of people hanging out in the street around the corner of Dryden Road and Eddy Street, where there are a couple of late night food truck parking spots. Brous also said he’s heard stories about people dining on Eddy Street asked to get up and move their parked cars when trucks show up at 10 p.m., and that some trucks get to their spots early.
“There’s a real question about accountability,” Brous said. “Who goes up to the food trucks and makes them understand they need to pay payroll taxes, workers’ compensation, that normal businesses have to be responsible for. Who knows if they pay cash or have a payroll tax?”